In Limerick, Ireland, there is a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Built by the Jesuits in 1868, it has since held a prominent place in this western Irish city.
With its red brick neo-classical facade, it proudly bears a gigantic figure of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He stands tall above the rooftops, pointing to His Most Sacred Heart.
Below Him, in the centre of the façade window, is yet another large statue of the Sacred Heart. With arms outstretched, He greets all who pass by, with the love from His Most Generous Heart.
Years ago, when Roger and I lived near Limerick, we knew and loved this church. It was especially important to us. Sadly, we later heard that it had closed. And it remained so for several years.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus was removed from the façade window. The church was emptied of her statues, adoring angels and other precious liturgical objects.
And there she lay empty, for sale on the secular market.
But joy came to the city of Limerick, when Sacred Heart Church was purchased in 2012, by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
A small community from the Institute now reside there and celebrate Holy Mass daily, with the most beautiful liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. They also pray the office and have daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as weekly devotions to the Sacred Heart.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus must be extremely well-pleased. For here is a testament, which offers deep veneration to His Heart.
And this Easter, Roger and I were most fortunate. For we made a pilgrimage to this incredible church, where we experienced its sublime ceremonies. The Sacred Triduum was offered once again in Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, after an eight year silence.
We give thanks to God for this precious gift.
We also give thanks to the small community from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest for all their enormous effort and sacrifices in bringing this church back to life. And for celebrating the Holy Mysteries with the most beautiful liturgy, healing our hearts and our souls.
Praise Be to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Very Personally about the Institute …
Personally, I’m extremely fond of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
By the grace of God, Roger and I spent a period of time living and travelling through the European continent. In all that time, across Spain, France and Switzerland, we seemed to find ourselves – providentially – close to the Institute again and again.
We have also been fortunate to live nearby three apostolates and to regularly attend Holy Mass, in France, Spain, England and now here in Ireland.
Wherever we have been, I have witnessed a very special quality in the way the Institute celebrates the Latin Mass.
Their priests have a certain style or approach – a consistent way of celebrating Holy Mass – which is uniquely their own. It is an approach infused with elegance, softness and beauty.
They aspire to an unusual depth of prayer, as well as careful, attentive precision, which allows for the richness of the Latin liturgy to be fully realised.
The Institute brings a freshness and splendour to the liturgy, which, in my opinion, is unsurpassed.
This is reflected in the beauty of the vestments and the music, which can open the senses in such a way that one may feel transported.
It is as though the sacred liturgy becomes a heavenly art, producing an experience of Holy Mass, exquisite beyond words.
There have been many times when I attended Holy Mass with the Institute, where I truly felt as though I were in heaven.
This makes the receiving of Our Lord in Holy Communion all the more profound.
This richness and depth brings about a celebration of Holy Mass truly fit for a King – a King Whose sole desire is to reach into our hearts and bring us back to His heavenly kingdom.
The Institute of Christ the King Apostolate in Ireland
The apostolate in Ireland is near the city centre in Limerick. Having taken on a church that was empty for many years, there is a lot of renovation work required. This Irish apostolate needs many prayers and much financial help, to undergo this necessary restoration.
If you feel inspired to help them, you can donate via Paypal at their website: www.institute-christ-king.ie
Canon Lebocq also travels from Limerick each Sunday to celebrate Holy Mass in Galway. He likewise comes up to Belfast once a month and hopes to increase this. For more information, you can contact him at [email protected]
For those of you who wish to know more about the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, there is also a wonderful short history at their website here. This includes their founding, growth over the last years, spirituality and mission statement.
Perhaps my words of praise might seem excessive to some. But again, I feel God gave us a very special grace in allowing us to be with them in numerous locales across Europe.
For we have been fortunate to live near by their apostolates and regularly attend Holy Mass, in Montauban, France, Madrid, Spain, New Brighton, England and now here in Ireland.
God also gave us the opportunity to further visit the Institute in Toulouse, Montpellier, Baladou and Laval in France as well as in Basel, Switzerland.
From all that providential experience, I really can say with my whole heart that, in terms of the Holy Liturgy, I have never found anything like the Institute of Christ the King.